Note: To protect the privacy of our members, e-mail addresses have been removed from the archived messages. As a result, some links may be broken.

Lesson Plans

Re: "special needs" students

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
kprs (kprs)
Mon, 23 Sep 1996 20:59:56 -0700

Sombralee wrote:
> Hi all!
> I am in my 4th week of student teaching and am wondering what other educators
> think of students that are labeled "special needs students". At the school
> where I am teaching students with that label are basically left to do what
> they want to do. As long as they are in class and aren't disruptive
> everything is okay. I have a hard time just seeing them sit there not doing
> anything. I am sooooo frustrated with their attitude and excuses of why they
> can't work. Some just don't care and just want to sit there and do nothing.
> Every time I mention this to my co-teacher he points out that they are a
> "special needs student" and that it's okay for them to sit and do nothing.
> Some of them never hand in work and the teacher gives those students extra
> time to finish, but how can they finish if they just sit in class. I thought
> part of what school did for those who for whatever reason are unable to learn
> at a normal or average rate was to teach them responsibility. These students
> seem to be babied. What will happen to them out in the "real world" when
> their boss won't take excuses or give them extra time. It's not just in my
> art classes but throughout the whole school and I've seen it in other schools
> as well. Having been a "special needs" child at one time I know that they are
> able to do more and it is really frustrating seeing them do less than they
> can.
> I'm just curious what other teachers think about this problem and any
> suggestions on how you handle students who do nothing.
> Thanks,
> Shelly

"Special Needs" students have traditionally been "mainscreamed" into my
classroom for the past 20 years. (I teach on a highschool level). First
you need to read their individualized educational plans (IEP), consult
with the special education department of your school and hold THEIR feet
to the fire! Students are only enabled by those of us who do not
believe they can learn. Students that are in my classroom will and do
produce, they critique, they participate and they mingle. They are not
separated out, and although they may be classified, I never discuss that
with them or any other student. I have found that adolescents don't
particularly like sticking out like sore thumbs, so if I make the same
demands on them as others, they pull through. Their work is displayed
in the same manner, and they are just as embarrassed/proud (depending on
the kid) as anyone else. I have even watched/guided emotionally
disturbed kids into art school, and one even has a lucrative local
business in tatooing. I may be the ONLY teacher they see that says "You
can and will do it", but if I don't believe in them, they never will.
Our special ed. department is tops, and they push these kids to be
productive, and follow rules, learn tolerance, and "keep their heads low
in the foxhole". I have made it a point to get to know these special
teachers, I eat lunch with them, and I pick their brains on ways to
reach certain students. We have laughed and cried together over some of
these special kids.

Oh! and one thing on my discipline techniques: I rarely yell or raise my
voice, I think it is because I inherited my mother's "evil eye", AND I
NEVER NEVER STAY AFTERSCHOOL for discipline problems. My motto has been
and will always be: If you are a pain in the ass in class, why would I
want to spend any time with you after school, when I don't even like you
right this minute? I am in school every day until about 6:00 for a
variety of reasons, but NEVER for discipline. I only spend my time with
kids in a positive way, I "shun" negative behavior, and guess what? It
works for me! Pretty soon those negative kids are trying everything in
their power in a positive way to get my attention, including smiling
while grunting at me! (Usually exposing their pierced tongues---now I
KNOW that's a stereotype, no letters please)

San D